Is this what the birth of a regime and the end of a democracy look like? I don’t intend to be melodramatic with that question. I ask it honestly.
This week our government began deleting web pages. These weren’t just “position” pages. They included actual science and study. Now they’re gone. This week our government issued a gag order. Only the trusted inner circle could use social media.
I was on the Badlands National Park twitter feed when the posts were deleted. These weren’t political posts. They were statements of scientific fact such as, “The pre-industrial concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 280 parts per million (ppm). As of December, 2016, 404.93 ppm.” I watched the posts disappear because they didn’t fit the mandated narrative. Think about that. We now have a government mandated narrative.
This week we were introduced to “alternative facts.” These are even more scary than censorship. We can delete information such as pre-industrial CO2 concentration and hope people forget. Alternative facts tell us to disbelieve what we saw. I watched the inauguration and thought, “Huh. A lot of empty spaces and seats.” Now I’m told it was a record breaking attendance. My own sensory input is wrong.
Data is eliminated, and we are told how to think. Is that open government or the beginning of something different? Our new leader continues to seek validation and announces an investigation into a voter fraud narrative that has already been thoroughly debunked. Why?
My social media feed is filled with scared and angry people. Is that statistically representative? I doubt it. How is it different from, “People tell me…”? How many times have we heard Trump say, “People tell me it’s great.” What people? Where? When? We don’t get those answers so my social media feed is just as valid. I can at least identify the people. Our citizenry is worried. What does our president do to alleviate those concerns? Nothing.
Today, our president put his signature on denying Muslims into our country and announced he was proceeding with his wall. The wall is a symbol. It won’t accomplish anything, and his vehement spending cuts supporters don’t care that it will cost hundreds of billions. Know who else has a wall? China. Is that whom we’re emulating? Psst…authoritarian rule throughout their history.
It all seems like Orwell was a visionary. Is it? I hope not. We’re in week one, and our scientists, our conservationists are already hiding and posting from anonymous (I hope for them) accounts.
What will week two look like?